A world-renowned Newmarket farrier has been awarded a doctorate for his project studying the development of foals’ hooves.
Simon Curtis, whose family have been farriers and blacksmiths in Newmarket for 150 years completed his six-year doctor of philosophy (PhD) programme at the University of Central Lancashire where he gained his first degree, a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in farriery back in 2011.
His 200-page thesis, the effect of loading upon hoof growth and hoof shape in thoroughbred foals, investigated how both normal changes occurred during growth and how conformational defects caused misshapen hooves.
Dr Curtis is still a practising farrier. Working from his forge in Newmarket’s Moulton Road he trims and shoes a variety of breeds but specialises in foals. And he intends to continue as a farrier, using the new knowledge from his studies to improve farriery work on foals and older horses.
His doctorate is the latest achievement in a career that has taken Dr Curtis all over the world. He has lectured and demonstrated farriery in more than 20 countries on six continents and has published three text books on farriery and has been published in numerous journals. Since November he has presented his research project in the UK, USA, South Africa, and Australia, speaking to farriers, veterinary surgeons and horse breeders.
He has been awarded an Honorary Associate of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons – the only farrier to receive this honour – and is also a Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Farriers (2001-2002) and chairman of the Farriers’ Registration Council (2006-10). He is a Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Farriers by examination (FWCF) and, in 2005, was inducted into the International Farriers Hall of Fame at the Kentucky Derby Museum.